One feature we enjoy very much about the area we live in is that it's a very outdoor-oriented, fitness-friendly environment. For this reason, it's super-easy to find opportunities for organized running-- pretty much as often as you feel like lacing up your sneakers. The first such race Riley and I did when we moved here was the 5K for Education, which (as you might guess) benefits local schools, and since we already participated in it once, they kindly emailed me when it was coming up again this year.
So I asked the fam at dinnertime one night if they wanted to join us and make it a Team WestEnders event, but the response was...less than enthusiastic. To be fair, Husband did have a legitimate excuse, since it conflicted with his first soccer game of the Spring season. But Derek? "Nah," was his...succinct....tersely-delivered statement. When I just stared at him, waiting for some kind of coherent elaboration other than the teenage monosyllable, he finally added, "I didn't do it last time, so I'm not doing it now." Huh. That...doesn't even make sense, but we'll go ahead and count you out, I suppose. Then Riley turned to me and said, "Besides, it's a 'you and me' thing, right?" Well, sweetie, if you put it that way, sure!
So the night before the race I laid out my outfit and gear, guaranteeing that I could sleep 'til the last possible moment, and prep quickly--two key components of any 5K day, as far as I'm concerned. (Hey, if I'm gonna be foregoing coffee...to RUN...in the MORNING....at least the getting ready part had better be relatively painless...) However, my brain apparently had other ideas, as I woke up earlier than necessary...due to a disturbing dream. It involved the 5K--which I had no earthly reason to be nervous or concerned about, so I reeeally don't know what was going on, here.
As far as I can recall, my subconscious had me struggling to secure a parking spot....in a crowded, 4-story garage, very close to the race's starting time. Then for some reason I walked away from my car, but I hadn't changed into my athletic clothes yet, so I had to go back and find where I'd left the vehicle...and I realized I was hopelessly lost. And confused. Also frustrated. As well as: now wide awake. Siiighhhh. For crying out loud, we don't even park in a garage for this race! I STILL don't understand what my stupid mind was trying to tell me....
To add to the...unsettling...beginning of the day, as I lay in bed shaking off the aftereffects of the semi-nightmare, I suddenly became aware of a telltale drip, drip, dripping outside my window. Oh...HECK no...but yes, in fact, it was raining. In my drowsy state, I commenced arguing in my head: but...but...AccuWeather assured me it was going to be nice this morning, then shower-y in the afternoon....that is supposed to mean, like, "later"! Apparently, though, they lied, because it was 44* and drizzly--altogether charming conditions to go for a nice 3.1 mile jog, yeah? (Right--I didn't think so, either...) Clearly it was time for some damage-control internal motivation...such as "it's only a half-hour, and you're done!" Or--even better--"just get through this, and you will definitely earn some hot chocolate afterwards!"
Riley and I were meeting up with one of my colleagues from the office at the starting line, so together we all stood around shivering and commiserating about the chilly dampness (which made it feel better, somehow, to share the...mild dose of misery). As usual, I wished Riley good luck and waved him goodbye before the gun (or, you know, "air horn") went off, since he'd be waaaay in front and muuuuuch faster than me. My work friend and I began the run in tandem, knowing that we'd probably separate at some point and each keep our own pace. I MIGHT have forgotten to properly warn her about how hilly the course is--or I'd blocked it from my own memory--but we parted ways after the first big incline, with a (panting) "keep it up--see you at the end!" (It's not called Chapel HILL for nothing, I tell ya...)
Now, given my recent knee...grumpiness...I hadn't run for 10 days, as a self-imposed period of R&R (Rest and Rehab), so I went into this one...cautiously optimistic? But mentally prepared for a less-than-ideal performance? However, I'm happy to report that there was no pain during the exercise...just verrry weary legs...followed by some soreness later in the evening, managed with ice and NSAIDS. Of course when I finished I spotted Riley standing around nonchalantly chatting with a soccer-and-school friend--appearing ever-so-slightly wet, but not the least bit winded or tired, and already munching on post-workout snacks.
Like a good son, he politely congratulated me and asked me my time. When I told him, his mouth quirked up in a small smile, and he casually mentioned, "Oh...I only came in about 9 MINUTES ahead of you!" Holy Speed Demon, Batman, that's crazy! So yeah, he PRd, with an under-21-minute total. Even nuttier, the buddy he was chatting with had finished first...out of all 483 runners. Because by this point we were cooling down and getting uncomfortable, we decided to leave before the awards, which was a shame, since it turned out that Riley won his age group, and would have been recognized. (Rats! Missed it!) Me? I was happy with a sub-10-minute mile...and the promised reward of my delayed-piping-hot-java.
Oh, and wouldn't you know--by noon, the clouds had lifted, the sun was shining brightly, and eventually the temperature rose to about 65. So, Riley and I ran, Derek did a 3-hour outdoor volunteer stint with the Eco-Crew he belongs to for Service Learning hours, and Husband played a soccer match...all while it was kind of raw and unpleasant. Oh, well...at least all of us are DONE with our physical activity for the day, and can relax and appreciate the gorgeous afternoon...while holding a steaming mug of tea and trying to warm up!